Implanted device could reduce risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation.
An international team of researchers has successfully completed
clinical trials of a device that could greatly reduce the risk of stroke
for some people with atrial fibrillation.
The device, made of a self-expanding alloy cage with a polymer
covering, was tested on 15 patients with chronic atrial fibrillation and
a high risk for stroke. The implant was inserted into the left atrial appendage, a small pouch in the heart's left upper pumping chamber,
in which blood clots can easily form. No complications associated with
the device were seen in any of the patients after more than 6 months of
followup, and the researchers are hopeful that it will serve as an
alternative to chronic anticoagulant therapy. (Circulation 2002;
published online April 8.)